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Mebane, WR Jr (2006)

Election Forensics: The Second-digit Benfordís Law Test and Recent American Presidential Elections

Proceedings of the Election Fraud Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah, September 29-30, 2006.

ISSN/ISBN: Not available at this time. DOI: Not available at this time.



Abstract: While the technology to conduct elections continues to be imperfect, it is useful to investigate methods for detecting problems that may occur. A method that seems to have many good properties is to test whether the second digits of reported vote counts occur with the frequencies specified by Benfordís Law. I illustrate use of this test by applying it to precinct-level votes reported in recent American presidential elections. The test is significant for votes reported from some notorious places. But the test is not sensitive to distortions we know significantly affected many votes. In particular, the test does not indicate problems for Florida in 2000. Regarding Ohio in 2004, the test does not overturn previous judgments that manipulation of reported vote totals did not determine the election outcome, but it does suggest there were significant problems in the state. The test is worth taking seriously as a statistical test for election fraud.


Bibtex:
@InProceedings {, AUTHOR = {Mebane Jr, WR}, TITLE = {Election Forensics: The Second-digit Benfordís Law Test and Recent American Presidential Elections}, BOOKTITLE = {Proceedings of the Election Fraud Conference}, YEAR = {2006}, URL = {http://www-personal.umich.edu/~wmebane/fraud06.pdf}, }


Reference Type: Conference Paper

Subject Area(s): Political Science, Voting Fraud